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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Kids’

Tips for Helping our Children to Adopt Healthy Habits

December 2, 2015

building-healthy-kids

Courtesy of heart.org:

 

  1. Be a good role model – You don’t have to be perfect all the time, but if kids see you trying to eat right and getting physically active, they’ll take notice of your efforts. You’ll send a message that good health is impor­tant to your family.
  2. Keep things positive – Kid’s don’t like to hear what they can’t do, tell them what they can do instead. Keep it fun and positive. Everyone likes to be praised for a job well done. Celebrate successes and help children and teens develop a good self-image.
  3. Get the whole family moving – Plan times for everyone to get moving together. Take walks, ride bikes, go swimming, garden or just play hide-and-seek outside. Everyone will benefit from the exercise and the time together.
  4. Be realistic – Setting realistic goals and limits are key to adopting any new behavior. Small steps and gradual changes can make a big difference in your health over time, so start small and build up.
  5. Limit TV, video game and computer time – These habits lead to a sedentary lifestyle and excessive snacking, which increase risks for obesity and cardiovascular disease. Limit screen time to 2 hours per day.
  6. Encourage physical activities that they’ll really enjoy – Every child is unique. Let your child experiment with different activities until they find something that they really love doing. They’ll stick with it longer if they love it. check out these activities for kids.
  7. Pick truly rewarding rewards – Don’t reward children with tv, video games, candy or snacks for a job well done. Find other ways to celebrate good behavior.
  8. Make dinnertime a family time – When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. Get your kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
  9. Make a game of reading food labels – The whole family will learn what’s good for their health and be more conscious of what they eat. It’s a habit that helps change behavior for a lifetime. Learn more about reading nutrition labels.
  10. Stay involved – Be an advocate for healthier children. Insist on good food choices at school. Make sure your children’s healthcare providers are monitoring cardiovascular indicators like BMI, blood pressure and cholesterol. Contact public officials on matters of the heart. Make your voice heard.

 

 

Click on the link to read Experts Calls School Lunchbox Inspections “Perverse”

Click on the link to read Healthy Easter Treat Options for Kids

Click on the link to read How School Lunches Compare Around the World

Click on the link to read Tips to Get Kids to Eat More Fruit

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List of Body Positive Books for Kids

January 13, 2015

body positive

A great list courtesy of thehuffingtonpost.com

 

  • Flora and the Flamingo and its sequel, Flora and the Penguin, age 4+. These charming, wordless picture books feature a spunky yet graceful little girl. Flora has a pear-shaped body, yet does a ballet pas de deux with a flamingo in the first book and figure skates with a penguin in the second. So many images in books, movies, magazines and ads feature young girls with slim bodies; it’s nice to see an image of a girl with a round tummy who’s athletic, graceful and creative.
  • Brontorina, by James Howe and illustrated by Randy Cecil, age 4+. When a brontosaurus shows up at ballet class, some of the students insist, “You are too big!” But the open-minded ballet teacher decides the problem is that her studio is too small — and moves the class outdoors. It’s a lighthearted lesson about not letting your size or shape prevent you from following your dream.
  • Freckleface Strawberry, age 5+. The main character feels self-conscious about her freckles, especially when other kids make comments and give her a nickname she doesn’t like. The final message isn’t that her freckles are beautiful, but that maybe they don’t matter. More important, people are happier when they accept who they are and what they look like.
  • Firebird, by Misty Copeland, age 5+. A young girl who wants to be a dancer almost gives up before ballet great Misty Copeland inspires and mentors her to reach her full potential in this exuberant picture book that emphasizes hard work and self-discovery.
  • Ivy + Bean, age 6+. Two “opposite” 7-year-old girls become best friends in the first of a wonderful 10-volume series. Bean is a rough-and-tumble tomboy who wears pants and a T-shirt and gets dirty; Ivy wears dresses, thinks a lot and is always reading books. They appreciate each other’s qualities, and the kids in their neighborhood appreciate them for their uniqueness and imagination.
  • Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child and its sequel, Watch Out Hollywood!: More Confessions of a So-Called Middle Child, age 8+. In the first book, Charlie shows she’s comfortable with her out-of-shape body (while trying to make healthy food choices) and confident in her bold sense of style. In the sequel, when she tries out for a TV show, kids tease her about her body, but the TV people admire her for being comfortable with her shape. It’s a refreshing, positive-body-image message to find in a book about middle school.
  • Harry Potter series, age 8+. Hermione is part of the triangle of main characters, and she’s smarter and does better in school than Harry and Ron. Her looks are never a focus, even when the kids become teens, go to dances and start to have crushes. It’s always about who she is as a person and her outstanding abilities.
  • Randi Rhodes Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit, by Octavia Spencer, age 8+. Randi moves to a new town and becomes best friends with two boys who also are outsiders; one is bullied for being hearing impaired but is as passionate about martial arts as Randi is, and the other is lanky, into music and super smart. Together the diverse pals — Randi’s white, and her friends are Latino and African-American — solve a mystery using brains and the occasional Bruce Lee move.
  • Blubber, age 9+. An overweight girl is teased mercilessly by some classmates, and no one stands up for her in this brutally honest look at (pre-Internet-era) bullying among fifth graders. The novel doesn’t spell out moral lessons but teaches kids by portraying repugnant behavior and showing the value of true friendship and courage under peer pressure.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth, age 9+. Middle schooler Greg Heffley goes through puberty in this series installment and suffers the indignity of teeth-fixing head gear. He deals with it all through humor and utter cluelessness, as always. He may not become more accepting of himself, but kids reading about his travails understand that everyone goes through this stage and that you can have a good laugh at the embarrassing stuff instead of being quietly embarrassed.
  • Grace, Gold, and Glory: My Leap of Faith, by Gabby Douglas and Michelle Burford, age 10+. This moving memoir shows the Olympic gymnast’s dedication in the face of homelessness, bullying and having a coach tell her she should get a nose job. Gabby stays focused, works hard and accepts herself as she is, even as she strives for greatness.
  • The Girl of Fire and Thorns, age 12+. A plump princess is chosen by God (in a fictional religion) for a special unknown task. She begins the book as intelligent but insecure and afraid and ends it confident and powerful.​ Rising to challenges and having faith in yourself are big lessons here — as is the message that any size girl can be a respected and capable leader.​
  • InReal Life, age 12+. An exciting graphic novel about a teen girl gamer who learns about harsh working conditions in other parts of the world. She’s smart, competent, and compassionate, both in real life and as her online avatar.

 

Click on the link to read Sometimes You Need to Expect Rudeness

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I Love it When Children Think for Themselves

July 24, 2014

I love it how this 7-year-old doesn’t let his high principles get muddied just because he is a child talking to a persuasive adult:

 

 

Click on the link to read 10-Year-Old’s Marriage Advice to His Teacher

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Invaluable Rules for Getting Kids to Heat Healthy Food

January 9, 2014

 

tony

Courtesy of Charity Curley Mathews:

 

1. Everyone (over the age of 2) eats the same meal. No special requests, no substitutes for anyone who has all of her teeth. I do try to be fair (and stack the deck in favor of success) by adding a couple of choices and also paying attention to each person’s favorite ingredients so there’s always something for everyone in each meal.

2. Add spinach to everything. Eggs, brownies, I’ll make anything “Florentine.” It’s not sneaky, because I tell the kids it’s going in. I’m just looking for new angles for getting more of the good stuff into those tiny bodies. Ditto for wheat germ, flaxseed and chia seeds. Also, we eat whole wheat everything: pasta, bread, pitas. The kids don’t know any different and it’s so much better for them.

3. Make it fun. Inspired by French Kids Eat Everything, we have tons of pretty little plates and bowls, special spoons and sometimes splurge on fancy paper napkins. There are parfaits and tea parties regularly. My goal is to make mealtimes enjoyable so the kids associate eating real food with pleasure. It’s working.

4. Start with small portions. I give the kids only a bite or two of each thing and whoever wants more, gets more. This helps kids figure out when they’re actually full rather than me coaxing them into “just one more bite” or worse, eating until their plates are empty from here on out.

5. Serve new foods with flair. We often use the fancy little bowls for new foods: I give the kids one bite in a special dish. Then I use an idea from the brilliant new book, It’s Not About the Broccoli. The kids become critics and give a thumbs up, thumbs in the middle or thumbs down. And if they give a thumbs down verdict, I’ll say, “That’s OK. You can try it again another time and maybe you’ll like it better then.” Planting the seed…

6. We cook all the time. Since I only work part-time, this works for us but any family could create a cooking culture by doing weekly dinners, big weekend breakfasts and so on. I cook breakfast, lunch and dinner almost every day; the kids see me doing it and right there they’re learning a lesson that real food is a priority for our family. Plus, it’s fun to let them help and that’s another lesson. My goal is for each person to have a dozen dishes they can make before they leave this house. We’ve got a while, which we’ll probably need…

7. The table is a stress-free zone. Toddlers dumping their plates notwithstanding, the dinner table isn’t stressful because we’re not battling the kids over who eats what. The food is there and manners are encouraged but no one is yelling, or prodding. We’re either sitting, eating or talking. Sometimes singing. If this isn’t possible, whoever is having a hard time will be excused along with mom or dad and welcome to return when he or she is feeling more cooperative.

8. Homemade is better than processed. Especially when it comes to snack foods, it’s easy to either give the kids real food — sliced cucumbers, dried cranberries, chunks of cheese — or make our own versions of crackers, fruit leather, DIY “Nutrigrain” bars and so on. Every time you can make something in your own kitchen, it’ll be fresher, purer and almost always healthier.

9. Two snacks, maximum. Because little bodies burn through their calories in the day, I like to give a mid-morning and a mid-afternoon snack to avoid meltdowns. But constant eating is a big problem these days and I don’t want the kids to learn that habit. In fact, for the afternoon snack I like to stick to fruit and it can be as simple as apple slices or as sweet as bananas and strawberries on a skewer.

10. The kids drink water and milk, period. Once juice and soda are off the table (literally and figuratively), it’s not even something to fight about. Our kids have two choices for drinks, they like both of them and best of all — they’re both healthy options.

Food is such a huge part of our lives that I can’t help thinking about it, learning about it, and yep, writing about it. It’s bigger than just our family, though. Food has huge implications for health, happiness, even our country’s financial well being. With obesity declared an “epidemic,” diabetes affecting more Americans than ever and the first ever generation of Americans to have shorter lifespans than their parents, Michael Pollan said “cooking might be the most important factor in fixing our public health crisis. It’s the single most important thing you can do for your health.” I would add it’s one of the most important things that we can teach our kids.

 

 

Click on the link to read Tips to get Children to Eat Better and Exercise More Often

Click on the link to read 10 Tips for Promoting Kids’ Healthy Eating

Click on the link to read my post on Tips For Parents on Packing a Healthy Lunch Box

Click on the link to read my post on Getting Kids to Eat Healthy Food

Click on the link to read my post on 6 Strategies for Promoting Healthy Food to Kids.

 

6 Tips for Kids Who Worry Too Much

January 8, 2014

 

worry

 

Courtesy of psychologist Daniel B. Peters, Ph.D.:

1. Make a worry list.
Have your child make a list of all his or her worries and fears, both small and large. Just the act of recognizing and writing down worries can sometimes make the scary emotions seem less intimidating for your child. This allows you to identify which worries and fears you want to work on with your child, tackling one by one together.

2. Practice thinking strategies.
Help your children convert their worries into reassurances by teaching them new thinking strategies. For example, if their consistent worry is “I am afraid my mom won’t pick me up from school,” have them replace it with “I know my mom is coming for me because she ALWAYS does.” Together, you can say each worry and fear and come up with new sentences to combat the old. Practice these with your kids until they become habitual replacements for the old, incessant worries. This is a key skill for building resilience.

3. Don’t skimp on sleep.
Make sure your child gets enough sleep on a regular basis. Well-rested equals well-equipped mentally and physically to deal with minor daily stresses. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that 3- to 5-year-olds get 11-13 hours a night, 5- to 12-year-olds get 10-11 hours per night, and teens get 9.25 hours per night (although some do fine with 8.5 hours).

4. Make good nutrition a priority.
Make sure your child gets a steady dose of protein throughout the day. Many kids experience low blood sugar, also known as hypoglycemia. Low blood sugar usually occurs a few hours after breakfast and it looks and feels a lot like anxiety: they feel dizzy, start sweating, feel weak, and their heart beats really fast. Staying away from caffeine and energy drinks is also recommended as they mimic the effects of adrenaline and cause people to feel anxious.

5. Get some exercise.
Exercise burns adrenaline. If it’s not already a part of your child’s daily routine, add daily exercise to your child’s plan, and let him know that not only is it good for his body, but it will help keep the Worry Monster away. Exercise can include any activities that your child enjoys such as swimming, shooting baskets, hiking, soccer, dodge ball, tennis, martial arts, jumping rope, rock climbing, bicycling, dancing, gymnastics or yoga. Anything that increases your child’s heart rate will help fight the Worry Monster.

6. Don’t underestimate distraction.
Arm your children with a little healthy distraction. Let them pick a favorite activity such as ten minutes on the computer playing a brain game, time out for reading a favorite book, watching a half hour television show or bike riding around the block — and allow them to do that activity whenever a worry attack comes on. This allows them to combat worry with pleasure and takes their mind off the often paralyzing thoughts and feelings brought on by the Worry Monster. Before you and they know it, they have been distracted from their worries.

 

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